Here is a small list of some items that BJJ players don’t consider of value too often, but they can really help you out in your training one way or another if you keep it in your gear bag. So besides a gi and a belt, here is something you should always have in your jiu-jitsu gear bag to help out, but they are not a necessity in any way.
It’s our best friend. If you haven’t used it at all, you’re either a white belt or you’ve just been really lucky all these years. You can use tape for just about anything related to injuries and cuts. Got scratched by a nail? Want to protect the scab? A bandage won’t do – it comes off too easily. But you can use tape to tie it nice and snug. Or do you have a wrist or finger injury? Use tape to tighten up your wrist or keep your stubbed finger supported by tying it to the other finger. The same can go for your ankles and toes. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the perfect tape. Sometimes you may have to re-tape throughout the class.
A lot of people prefer not to use mouth guards for two main reasons. One being that it’s hard to breath with it in your mouth, and two, they feel like it’s a “wussy” thing to do. Firstly, your teeth are probably one of the more important things you want to protect on your body since they don’t heal on their own like muscle tissue. You get one tooth chipped, and that’s permanent. It doesn’t take much either. You can be rolling with a child and one good elbow or accidental kick in the face can get the job done. Secondly, it really isn’t something for wussies. All the top MMA fighters wear mouth guards and they continue to do so when they roll in gi too. So if those guys are wussies, then I don’t know who isn’t.
This is something that everyone can relate to a little more because no one wants any type of skin infection. Skin infection is the curse of contact sports – especially in judo, BJJ and wrestling. Infections can range from mild ringworm to flesh eating staph infections. There is no wussy factor here - you have to shower. And if you can’t shower right after the gym, then carrying some sort of anti-bacterial cream or wipes for a quick wipe-down wouldn’t be a bad idea. At least you can get to your house not feeling like the bacteria is just breaking its way into your skin.
This is the most optional item of this list. You really don’t need a jockstrap and it actually can be very annoying for maneuverability. Especially since it may jab people at times too, as funny as it sounds. Some people even say that they lose their sensitivity on armbars because of them. But the truth is, you’re going to get knocked in the nuts at times – usually with spazzy beginners. So if you’ve already had your fair share of nut shots, this wouldn’t be a bad idea to have in your gear bag.